in his excellent book Preaching for Revitalization, Michael F. Ross describes a shift in literature on preaching. Prior to the twentieth century, books did not indicate that preaching was in decline or a question in people's minds. "Rather their emphasis is on the spiritual aspects of preaching: the minister's life and heart, prayer, Spirit-led preparation, the hope of the gospel, and so forth."
In the 1930s and 1940s, books began to describe a decline in preaching.
Ross describes how the emphasis has shifted in response to this crisis in modern literature:
Overall, the current works focus most on communication theory and practice - style, SAIs (stories, analogies and illustrations), voice methods and time usage - while the earlier works dwell and content, theology, spiritual motivations and the character of the minister.
Ross argues that we need to look beyond communication skills if we want to see a revival of biblical preaching:
The crisis of the American pulpit is not one of communication theory, but rather one of content, conviction, and consistency of theology and life...This is not to say that communication theory and practice are not important, but rather to keep two concepts separate: homiletics and preaching. Good homiletics does not necessarily result in good preaching. Homiletics does not transform the soul; true preaching does!